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Fast and slow talkers share the same amount of information
by Brooks Hays
Providence, R.I. (UPI) Jan 17, 2017


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

According to new research out of Brown University, fast and slow talkers deliver information at the same rate.

An analysis of 2,400 annotated telephone conversations and 40 interviews -- comprising the speech patterns of 398 people -- showed faster talkers dilute important information with unnecessary verbiage.

Researchers measured the rate of information delivered by all speakers, categorizing specific words and phrases as conveying lexical and structural information. Faster talkers deliver more words per minute, but fail to transfer more lexical and structural information.

In other words, as a person's speech rate goes up, the information rate declines. Fast talkers are less efficient, using more words to say the same thing.

"It seems the constraints on how much information per second we should transmit are fairly strict, or stricter than we thought they were," Cohen Priva, an assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown, said in a news release.

The researchers also found men tend to convey more information than women at a given speech rate. Scientists hypothesize women are more likely to offer verbal cues to make sure the listener understands.

The findings -- detailed in the journal Cognition -- suggest fast and slow talkers use specific turns of phrase and possess employ other linguistic stylings.

"We need to consider a model in which fast speakers consistently choose different types of words or have a preference for different types of words or structures," Priva said.


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